Comment Period: September 30, 2020 – October 30, 2020
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is soliciting comments regarding an In-lieu Fee Project (ILF Project) proposal, requesting funding from the Sacramento District California In-Lieu Fee Program (ILF Program). The Sponsor for this ILF Program is the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This ILF Program services 37 counties and approximately 65,000 square miles. The ILF Program was established in October 2014 and was approved by the Corps, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California State Water Resources Control Board, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (each an “Agency” and collectively the “Agencies”). The ILF Project for the Cache/Putah Rivers Aquatic Resources Service Area consists of the purchase of 3.47 Salmonid/Riverine Riparian (restored) credits from the Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 for structures or work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States and/or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
APPLICANT: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Attn: Ms. Stephanie Tom Coupe, 90 New Montgomery Street, Suite 1010, San Francisco, CA, 94105
LOCATION: The approximately 116-acre Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank is located approximately 11 miles north of the unincorporated area of Knights Landing, immediately adjacent to the Sacramento River, Latitude 38.9133°, Longitude -121.8111°, Yolo County, California, and can be seen on the Kirkville USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The ILF Project proposal was submitted in accordance with the Project Development Process of the approved ILF Program Instrument (Instrument), which includes a provision that requires the Sponsor to determine whether there is a mitigation bank in the Service Area with applicable available credits. If there is an approved mitigation bank within a Service Area, then the Instrument requires evaluation of the purchase of mitigation bank credits, along with other potential alternative ILF Project options, based on the Project Evaluation Criteria.
After multiple Requests for Proposals and other outreach efforts, the Sponsor has not been able to identify any suitable potential ILF Project sites within the Cache/Putah Rivers Aquatic Resource Service Area, other than the purchase of mitigation bank credits. Therefore, in accordance with the terms of the Instrument, the Sponsor is proposing to fulfill its Advanced Credit sales in the Cache/Purah Rivers Aquatic Resource Service Area by implementing an ILF Project consisting of the purchase mitigation bank credits. The ILF Project consists of the purchase of 3.47 Salmonid/Riverine Riparian (restored) credits from the Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank.
The Sponsor’s combined Individual Project Prospectus/Project Development Plan is available online at: https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:278:2437165752397::NO:RP,278:P278_BANK_ID:5806.
Environmental Setting. The environmental setting for each proposed ILF Project site is described in the approved Mitigation Banking Enabling Instrument for the Mitigation Bank from which credits are proposed to be purchased, which is accessible via the RIBITS website link provided above. A Department of the Army permit is not required for the purchase of credits.
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: The Inter-agency Review Team responsible for the review and approval of the proposed mitigation bank include representatives from the Corps, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California State Water Resources Control Board, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information, the ILF Project does not have potential to affect any historic properties. Consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is not necessary for ILF Projects consisting solely of mitigation bank credit purchases.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Based on the available information, the ILF Project will not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, is not required for ILF Projects consisting solely of mitigation bank credit purchases.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: Based on the available information, the ILF Project will not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, is not required for ILF Projects consisting solely of mitigation bank credit purchases.
The above determinations are based on information provided by the Sponsor and our preliminary review.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2012-00286 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before October 30, 2020.
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
Attn: Laura Shively, Mitigation Banking Specialist
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California, 95814-2922
The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact the Program Sponsor or the Corps' project manager Laura Shively, (916) 557-5258, Laura.B.Shively@usace.army.mil.